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Currencies

Nigeria’s worsening current account deficit piles pressure on exchange rate

The current account deficit is critical to deciding on whether to devalue or not.

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diaspora remittances, Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor, CRR debits, P-AADS, #EndSARS: CBN says funds in frozen accounts may be linked to terrorist activities, Covid-19: Court closures impacted revenue generation for courts - Emefiele, P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG, Leaked letter by Poultry Farmers Association triggered CBN emergency approval to import maize, nImplications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months, BREAKING: CBN Upscales Greenwich Trust Limited, grants it's operational license for merchant banking, AGSMEIS: CBN expand beneficiaries to 14,638., CBN expands access to mortgage financing

Nigeria’s current account deficit closed at $4.8 billion dollars at the end of March 2020 as the country continues to import more than its exports. This is according to provisional data from the CBN and analyzed by Nairametrics research. 

This is as the country continuous to face pressure pressure to unify the exchange rate and reflect the true value of the naira against the dollars.

current account deficit occurs when a country’s foreign liabilities exceed its foreign assets. It is exacerbated when the country imports more than it exports.  Nigeria has reported a negative current account balance in 15 quarters out of the 25 quarters since 2014 under the Buhari administration. The figures are stated net because the inflows are set off against outflows, thus a negative balance deficit. 

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s debt rises to $79.5 billion, as debt to revenue ratio worsens

Nigeria recorded a current account deficit of N17 trillion in 2019 the highest since we started tracking in 2014. In the last quarter of 2014, Nigeria’s current account deficit was a whopping $6.9 trillion one of the worst on record. 

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Large current account deficits typically fan devaluation calls as it suggest the country’s reserve is not adequate to meet long term commitments hence the need to adjust the currency. In March the central bank devalued the official rate at the NAFEX to about N388/$1 and recently devalued the exchange rate window for importers to N380/$1. 

First Quarter Deficit  

 

Current Account Deficit
Source: CBN/Nairametrics Research.

READ ALSO: Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account

According to the data, Nigeria’s total exports was $13.3 billion out of which crude oil and gas exports was $11.2 billion. Non-oil exports was $2.1 billion. Nigeria’s non-oil import was $11 billion out of which services gulped $8.8 billion. Investment income which includes dividends cost about $2.8 billion in currency outflows. 

Services remains a huge source of forex outflows in the country and it comprises of travel, transportation, payment for technical services etc. Services gulped about $33 billion last year alone. However, net portfolio outflows in the first quarter of 2020 was as high as $8.3 billion out of which $6.9 billion was for debt securities mostly short term.

In total about $12.8 billion was outflowed from the country for debt securities in the 4th and 1st quarter of 2019 and 2020 respectively.

READ ALSO: Current accounts drop by 4.5 million, as PoS transactions hit N373 billion

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What this means 

As the country continues to deal with the twin challenges of a drop in crude oil prices and the covid-19 pandemic there is an urgent need to reverse the trend of a current account deficit if it is to keep the exchange rate stable. Depending on who you listen to, pent up dollar demand could be as high as $2 billion leading calls for another devaluation.

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The world bank has also called for a unification of the exchange rate, a situation that could either lead to a devaluation or beyond the NAFEX rate or enforce stability if there is enough liquidity. The exchange rate at the black market is currently N365/$1 however the external reserve is about $36.1 billion. 

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Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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Business

CBN appoints 3 Pre-Shipment Inspection and 2 Monitoring Agents for non-oil exports

The CBN has announced the appointment of 3 PIAs and 2 Monitoring/Evaluation Agents for non-oil exports.

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Q1 2020, AfCFTA, African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa Free Trade Agreement, Business new, Nairametrics news

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the appointment of 3 Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs) for non-oil exports with effect from January 15, 2021.

The apex bank in addition, also announced the appointment of Monitoring and Evaluation Agents (MEAs) to oversee the activities of the PIAs in their respective zones of operations.

This disclosure is contained in a circular that was issued by the CBN on January 26, 2021, and signed by its Director for Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. O. S. Nnaji.

The CBN in the circular said that the Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents are;

  • Angila International Limited with the responsibility to cover North West and North Central Zones,
  • Neroli Technologies Limited to cover South West and South-South,
  • Gojopal Nigeria Limited has the responsibility to cover the South East and North East.

Similarly, the newly appointed Monitoring and Evaluation Agents are;

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  • Foops Integrated Services Limited with the responsibility to cover North East, North West and North Central,
  • Ace Global Depository whose areas of coverage include South East, South West, and South-South.

The apex bank in the circular directed all authorized dealers, operators in the non-oil export sector, and members of the general public to take note and ensure compliance.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in a revised policy, the Federal Government had said that all non-oil exports from Nigeria shall be subject to inspection by Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents appointed for that purpose by the government.
  • The focus of the PIAs shall be to ascertain the quality, quantity, and price competitiveness of exports from Nigeria and shall collaborate with other regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, SON, Plant and Animal Quarantine, Federal Produce Inspectorate, and so on, for quality inspection of regulated products.

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Currencies

Naira falls to N480/$1 at black market as CBN recognizes forex pressures is weakening the economy

The exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N480/$1 on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

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Dollar, Exchange rate, FOREX, NAFEX market turnover drop by 59%, Naira crashes to N470/$1 as currency uncertainty worsens 

On January 26, 2021, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N480/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N477/$1 on the previous trading day of January 22, 2021, representing a N3 drop.

Why Naira is depreciating

  • This can be attributed to demand pressure in the foreign exchange market as economic activities resumed in earnest following the end of the Christmas and New year holidays.
  • Forex dealers also inform Nairametrics that an increase in demand from Nigerians looking to send their wards back to school abroad has also piled pressure on the demand for the greenback.
  • A cross-section of importers have also resumed import activities piling pressure on the black market to meet their forex demands.

READ: Nigeria’s foreign debt has breached a 15-year trigger

To streamline supply and ensure there is enough to meet rising demand, the CBN moved to ensure strict monetary control of the forex market threatening to expel exporters who refuse to remit foreign exchange proceeds in the NAFEX market. It also warned against paying diaspora remittances in naira. 

The CBN may have also confirmed the forex pressures businesses are facing in its monetary policy communique of January 26, 2020 when it cited it as a reason for the weak purchasing managers index.

“This weak performance was attributed to the resurgence of the pandemic, foreign exchange pressures, increased costs of production, general increase in prices and decline in economic activities.”

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READ: Non-oil sector is critical to Nigeria’s economic recovery in 2021 – Cordros Capital

Trading at the official NAFEX window

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Tuesday, closing at N394/$1. This represents a 50 kobo gain when compared to the N394.50/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.

  • The opening indicative rate was N393.60 to a dollar on Tuesday, representing a 30 kobo drop when compared with the N393.30 to a dollar that was recorded on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • The N396 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N390/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window rose significantly by 170.9% on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover increased from $39.99 million on Monday, January 25, 2021, to $108.34 million on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

READ: Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves

Oil price steady rise

Brent crude oil price rose to about $55.87 on Wednesday morning as US crude stockpiles decrease by about 5.2 million barrels last week. A higher crude oil draw (a decrease in crude oil inventory) is attributed to higher refining activities in the world’s largest economy.

  • Oil prices have been dragging since last week after the IEA released a report that slashed its outlook for oil in 2021.
  • According to the IEA, “Global oil demand is expected to recover by 5.5 mb/d to 96.6 mb/d in 2021, following an unprecedented collapse of 8.8 mb/d in 2020. For now, a resurgence in Covid-19 cases is slowing the rebound, but a widespread vaccination effort and an acceleration in economic activity is expected to spur stronger growth in the second half of the year.
  • “After falling by a record 6.6 mb/d in 2020, world oil supply is set to rise by over 1 mb/d this year, with OPEC+ adding more than those outside the bloc. There may be scope for higher growth given our expectations for further improvement in demand in 2H21. After holding flat at 92.8 mb/d in December, global supply is rising this month with OPEC+ due to ramp up during January.
  • Nigeria needs oil prices to stay above $50 to balance its budget and improve on its 2021 revenue projection of  N6.6 trillion for the year.
  • Nigeria’s 2021 budget includes a target crude oil benchmark price of $40/barrel and crude oil production of 1.86 million barrels per day.
  • Nigeria has a production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day but is subject to OPEC’s crude oil production cuts, which are expected to help sustain higher oil prices.
  • The higher oil prices and steady production output have positively impacted Nigeria’s external reserves, rising sharply to $36.304 million according to central bank data dated January 14, 2020.
  • This is the highest level since July 2020 and a sign that higher oil prices and steady output levels may be contributing significantly to Nigeria’s foreign exchange position.

READ: Naira falls across forex markets as CBN moves against IMTOs

Higher oil prices drive up Nigeria’s external reserves

  • The external reserve has risen to $36.508 billion as of January 21, 2021.
  • Nairametrics had earlier reported that the government may have taken receipt of the $1-1.5 billion World Bank loan. However, excerpts of the CBN Monetary Policy communique of January 26th suggest the inflows may have been driven by higher oil revenues.
  • According to the CBN, “On the external reserves position, the Committee noted the increase in the level of external reserves, which stood at US$36.23 billion as at 21st January, 2021 compared with US$34.94 billion at the end of November 2020. This reflected improvements in crude oil prices, partial global economic recovery amid optimism over the discovery and distributions of COVID-19 vaccines by most developed economies.”
  • The external reserves have increased by $1.135 billion since December 31, 2020, when it closed the year at $35.3 billion.
  • Nigeria also needs the external reserves to hit $40 billion if it is to adequately meet some of the pent up demand that has piled up since 2020 when oil prices crashed and the pandemic caused major economic lockdowns.

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Currencies

Naira falls at NAFEX window as dollar supply continues to decline

The exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.50/$1 at the NAFEX Window.

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Central Bank of Nigeria, Foreign exchange market, Naira vs dollas, IMF, Foreign Reserves, External reserves, CBN, Why do we all love the dollar? 

On January 25, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.50/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially.

Forex turnover, however, dropped further by about 10.2% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continues.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has moved to create more liquidity in the foreign exchange market as they insisted that deposit money banks and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) must pay diaspora remittances to beneficiaries in dollars as against the initial practice of paying in naira.

This will also help to create more stability and transparency in the forex market.

Also, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially remained stable at N477/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N477/$1 on the previous trading day of January 22, 2021.

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The exchange rate disparity between the parallel market and the official market is about N82.50, representing a 20.9% devaluation differential.

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Monday, closing at N394.50/$1. This represents a 33 kobo drop when compared to the N394.17/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.

  • The opening indicative rate was N393.30 to a dollar on Monday, this represents a 15 kobo drop when compared with the N393.15 to a dollar that was recorded on Friday, January 22, 2021.
  • The N395 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394.50 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N390/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 10.2% on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $44.51 million on Friday, January 22, 2021, to $39.99 million on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are fears that the exchange rate at the black market might be under pressure in the coming weeks as importers scramble for dollars to meet their demands.

Oil price steady rise

Brent crude oil price is at about $55.60 per barrel as of Tuesday morning, as it moves towards the $60 mark, a strong sign that global demand could sustain price increases in 2021.

  • This appears as a boost to Nigeria as the country’s crude oil price benchmark for 2020 was $40 while it projected an oil production output of 1.8 million barrels per day.
  • Nigeria has a production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day but is subject to OPEC’s crude oil production cuts, which are expected to help sustain higher oil prices.
  • The higher oil prices and steady production output have positively impacted Nigeria’s external reserves, rising sharply to $36.304 million according to central bank data dated January 14, 2020.
  • This is the highest level since July 2020 and a sign that higher oil prices and steady output levels may be contributing significantly to Nigeria’s foreign exchange position.

Nigeria rising external reserves

  • The external reserve has risen to $36.508 billion as of January 21, 2021.
  • Nairametrics had earlier reported that the government may have taken receipt of the $1-1.5 billion World Bank loan.
  • The external reserves have increased by $1.135 billion since December 31, 2020, when it closed the year at $35.3 billion.
  • Nigeria also needs the external reserves to hit $40 billion if it is to adequately meet some of the pent up demand that has piled up since 2020 when oil prices crashed and the pandemic caused major economic lockdowns.

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